Every Day is Open Data Day

rweait's picture

Don't let Open Data Day become a stunt. Every day is Open Data Day. Here is how you can make it so.

Government Open Data in Canada is Doomed Unless you Fight to Fix It

Municipalities, Provinces / Territories and the Feds, all seem to think that Open Data needs their individual governmental fingerprints all over it to be successful. Those governments have instead, poisoned the Canadian Open Data environment with a series of odious, mutually incompatible, custom written Open Data licenses.

Let me go over that again. These governments have written their own licenses, at great taxpayer expense, and those licenses don't even permit the combination of, for example, Mississauga data with Toronto data. That can't possibly be their intent and yet it is the result. See the license compatibility tool, published by CIPPIC to see the extensive and deep level of stupid that has been foisted off on the Canadian Open Data community. See the screenshot above? The red parts of the screenshot mean that there are no licenses under which you may publish the combined work. OpenFail.

It didn't have to happen this way. Many municipalities, and other levels of government have been provided with the information about the risks of license incompatibility before they embarked on their doomed pilot programs. Most of those have taken the selfish, ego-driven approach of writing their own unsuitable license.

Blame Vancouver. They started it.

Insist that Your Government Adopt ODC-PDDL (Open Data Commons - Public Domain Dedication and License) as your Open Data License

Your governments have demonstrated that they are incompetent to draft and maintain an Open Data License*. Insist that instead of spending more tax-payer dollars to become competent to draft and maintain an Open Data License, they instead become competent-enough to evaluate the existing, publicly available, professionally drafted and maintained Open Data Licenses. Those licenses drafted by the Open Data Commons are the place to look. To make this even simpler, the only license that Canadian governments may use to publish the data that belongs to their citizens is the ODC-PDDL (Open Data Commons - Public Domain Dedication and License). For the government to attempt to implement any restrictions on the use of the Open Data of the citizens in unacceptable.

Create and Publish Open Data Every Day

You can create and publish Open Data every day. Join OpenStreetMap.org and publish Open Data by improving the map of your neighbourhood. It isn't government Open Data, it's citizen Open Data.

Now get out there are make Open Data part of your every day, not just a stunt for one Open Data Day per year.


Screenshot from © Clipol.org is licensed CC-By


* "Draft and maintain", what? That's right. A municipality can't just draft an Open Data License and expect it to hold. Data Law, and Open Data Law are new and quickly moving, as laws go. They are nowhere near as established as copyright law. And nowhere near as uniform from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. So, "If you ain't gonna maintain it, don't try and draft it."